Auguste and Louis Lumière came from Lyon in France, where they worked in their father's photographic factory. In 1894, they saw Edison's kinetoscope in Paris, and decided to design a camera of their own. By February of the next year they had produced a working model of their ciné camera, which they called a cinématographe. The machine was in fact not only a camera but could be used, together with a magic lantern, to project the films which the brothers had taken.
The films produced by the Lumières' camera were usually about 50 seconds long. They were taken in one shot, with the camera kept fixed on a tripod, looking the same way all the time. The first one which was ever to shown to an audience was an image of the workers leaving the factory in Lyon. (You can see this film at the Stanford Humanities Laboratory.) This showing was also the first time that an audience had seen moving pictures projected onto a screen, since Edison's kinetoscope used a peep-show viewer rather than a projected image.
The first public screening of one of the Lumières' films was given on 28 December 1895 in Paris. This date is often taken to mark the birth of the cinema, although Edison and even Le Prince and Donisthorpe had photographed moving pictures before then. After the screening, the brothers began commercial production of their camera, which was soon in demand across the world. The age of the cinema had begun.
You can find out more about the Lumière Brothers at Lyon City online.
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